Airport Breaks Ground on New Runway to Keep Pace with Growth
Passenger traffic remains strong at RDU, with 1,236,472 travelers flying through the airport in September. RDU continues to outpace previous years, with a 30 percent increase over September 2022 and a nearly nine percent increase over RDU’s record-breaking year in 2019. Travel was down seven percent compared to August, with the expected drop off after the end of the summer travel season.
“The fast-paced growth at RDU makes it even more critical that we fulfill our Vision 2040 master plan for growth and continue to build for the millions of passengers who will fly through RDU in the years to come,” said Michael Landguth, president and CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. “RDU took a historic first step this week when we broke ground on our primary runway and we will keep improving the infrastructure and amenities that make us a world-class airport.”
Paris Route: Air France will join the lineup of international airlines that serve RDU this month. The airline will take over nonstop service to Paris from their business partner, Delta Air Lines, on Oct. 30. Air France will increase the frequency of the route next spring, offering daily nonstop service between RDU and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) beginning in March. The Paris service is timed to provide ideal connections from CDG to Air France’s network of nearly 200 destinations and 89 countries.
Runway Groundbreaking: The Airport Authority joined state and local dignitaries, business and community leaders last week in celebrating the ceremonial start of construction on the replacement for RDU’s primary runway. The first shovels went into the ground on Oct. 11, more than seven years after RDU first notified the FAA it would need a new runway. The existing one was built in the 1980s and is due to be replaced after nearly four decades of use. The new runway is expected to be completed in 2028 at a projected cost of $534 million. It will also make room for the future addition of more gates at Terminal 2.
Whisky River Honors: A restaurant in Terminal 2 made two appearances in the recently released USA Today 10 Best Reader’s Choice awards. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Whisky River restaurant ranked number six in the category of best sit-down restaurants for travelers. USA Today also named Whiskey River number five in the best sit-down bar category and recommended that travelers make a pit stop there when flying through RDU.
New Concessions: Julius Meinl is now open in Terminal 2 at Gate C18, offering gourmet coffee and on-the-go meals. Airport guests can also choose from grab-and-go options, including breakfast yogurt parfaits and pastries from Raleigh’s Blue Ox Bakery, along with a variety of sandwiches, wraps, and salads. Julius Meinl is open from 4 a.m. through the last departure. Ready to Fly Grab & Go is open in Terminal 1 at Gate A4 and in Terminal 2 at Gate C3. The hours at both locations are 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Guests can enjoy a local cup of coffee from Dilworth Coffee with a scone in the morning, and pick up a sandwich, wrap or salad for lunch. Ready to Fly Grab & Go also serves made-from-scratch cupcakes from Durham bakery Favor Desserts.
SIXT Opening: RDU expanded its rental car options this month with the addition of SIXT, the fourth rental car company to operate at the airport. RDU guests can now enjoy even more choices when renting a car for their journeys throughout the Triangle and surrounding areas. SIXT takes your travel experience to the next level by offering a selection of luxury vehicles for rent.
Plane Pull: RDU will host the annual Special Olympics North Carolina Plane Pull on Oct. 21. Teams of five will compete to see who can pull a plane 25-thousand feet in the shortest time. The friendly competition raises funds for Special Olympics in our state so athletes can compete at no cost to them. There is still time to form a team and join the Plane pull. You can learn more at ncplanepull.com.